Governor's Totem in Juneau, 1960Original caption reads: "Exterior view, from front; totem pole visible on right side of mansion." Source: Alaska State Library Place File. Photographs. ASL.
Located in front of the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau, the Governor’s Totem Pole was commissioned by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was carved between 1939-1940. Charlie Tagook, a Tlingit carver from Klukwan, began the work, and William N. Brown, a Tlingit and head carver from Saxman, finished it. The totem stands at 31’-6” tall, and is carved on a yellow cedar log. The seven figures represented on it illustrate Tlingit legends. “Figure one on top is Raven and in descending order are Grandfather Raven, Man, Giant Cannibal, Mosquito, The World, and Old Woman Underneath,” reports Klas Stolpe in the Juneau Empire. According to the Alaska State Museum curator Ellen Carrlee, the totem does not belong to a specific phratry: “It wasn’t carved to have any certain ties with a local clan or have a clan ownership connection as far as we know.” The totem was restored in 1997-1998, and again in 2010.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) restored and recarved hundreds of totem poles in Alaska, as part of a restoration program that lasted approximately between 1938 and 1942. The program was part of a larger U.S. Forest Service effort to employ Alaska Natives and conserve totems and Native cultural assets. U.S. Forest Service architect Linn A. Forrest oversaw the joint program of the Forest Service and the CCC throughout Southeast Alaska.
Governor's Totem Pole gets a brief rest during mansion renovations, Klas Stolpe, Juneau Empire, accessed August 25, 2017.
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on August 26, 2017.
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